Hug It Out At The Prelude To Staplehouse [Sneak Peeks] 3

Posted by Foodie Buddha on August 26, 2009

Tommy: Brothers don’t shake hands. Brothers gotta hug.

underground supper club by ChowDownAtlanta underground supper club by ChowDownAtlanta underground supper club by ChowDownAtlanta

That’s the kind of atmosphere at an event hosted by Jen & Ryan Hidinger (the line of course is a quote straight out of Tommy Boy).  In fact, we tried to get out of there on a handshake, and the better half insisted we hug it out.  For those of you not privy to my past posts on Staplehouse, let’s get ya’ll up to speed.

Ryan Hidinger is the Chef de Cuisine at Muss & Turner’s.  He, with the help of his lovely wife Jen, hope to open their own joint sometime in the foreseeable future.  The restaurant will open under the name Staplehouse (formerly two words – now one).  The concept will be a neighborhood eatery backed by fresh, staple-driven food. In the meantime, what we have is A Prelude To Staplehouse.  Prelude is quite simply a small gathering where a handful of diners get together, sample a good amount of Ryan’s food, and then are given an opportunity to give him some feedback.  PS … before you hit “read more” you may want to brace yourselves.  This is another post that’s far too long for the net. ;-)

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Get A Sneak Peek At Staplehouse Restaurant 1

Posted by Foodie Buddha on May 26, 2009

Word travels these days.  Recently, I was turned onto a relatively new supper club by the name of A Prelude To Staple House (alternatively:  Run by Atlanta chef Ryan Hidinger and his boss (echemm… wife) Jenifer, Prelude popped up in early January.  With roughly six meals under their belts (as of the 31st), it looks things are moving along well.

I have yet to make it to one of these events (they keep filling up), but I still think it’s worth mentioning.  With some hard work and a little bit of luck, the couple is hoping to open a restaurant of their own in the near future.  More after the jump!

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A Sneak Peek At WaterHaven Restaurant In Midtown [Guest Blogger] 4

Posted by adam.harrell on May 13, 2009

Interior & Location: They’ve completely overhauled the interior space. It’s opened up nicely, flows well and is designed to create a calming atmosphere. It’s a much more pleasant interior than the former restaurant (the globe) that occupied the space. 

As expected on a soft opening, the kitchen is still working out it’s kinks. The fried green tomato appetizer was good. It featured goat cheese, roasted red peppers and a sunflower seed pesto. Subtle flavors, but good. The tomato soup was rich and had a good kick of spice. The soup was probably the most pronounced flavor we tasted all night. The trout entrée was a bit disappointing. It was a beautiful fillet of Georgia trout with a bacon topper, but didn’t live up to it’s appearance. Amazingly it needed more seasoning, particularly more salt, as the bacon was very mild. Some sort of acid, lemon perhaps, would’ve helped as well.

The side of mushroom lasagna was very rich. Overall the dish had potential, but it could’ve used a contrast in texture to go with the mushroom lasagna and stronger flavors for the trout (in my humble opinion). The side of macaroni and cheese had great texture, but was once again a bit bland. It used the same bacon as the trout, so I think the kitchen was afraid to add additional salt to any of the dishes containing this amazingly mild bacon. The halibut was well executed. It was perfectly cooked and featured subtle flavors. It was served with cannellini beans in a mild broth with capers and roasted peppers.

The first dessert was a medley of fresh berries with liquor and whipped cream. Deliciously simple. The other dessert was a classic crème brûlée. The custard was a bit runny and the flavors a bit off.

Service: Overall the service was top notch. The kitchen was a bit slow, but that was to be expected on a soft opening. The server was really knowledgeable and truly excited about the restaurant concept (farm to table with dash of environmental friendliness).

Overall: The menu plays it pretty safe. It’s features contemporary takes on classic and trendy dishes. The combinations aren’t new (beet salad with goat cheese for example), but the ingredients are fresh and the execution mostly on par. For a soft opening they handled themselves incredibly well and all the dishes showed potential for improvement as they have a chance to refine. This restaurant should do well. It reminds me of JCT or Dogwood in terms of type and quality of food. It’s a welcome addition to Technology Square and should turn into a good option for midtown diners.

WaterHaven Restaurant Address & Information

75 Fifth Street, Suite 170, Atlanta, GA 30308 // P: 404.214.6740 // WaterHaven Website // WaterHaven Menus
WaterHaven on Urbanspoon

About The Author

This guest post was written by Adam Harrell, a local foodie and interactive marketer. You can find him at

Varasano’s Pizzeria: Imminent 2

Posted by Foodie Buddha on March 18, 2009

It’s been nearly a month since I got to sneak over to the highly anticipated Varasano’s Pizzeria.  Jeff was just getting the feel for his new oven and the place was still under construction.  18-pizzas later (I kid you not) … I was plump and happy.  Unlike his home tasting which I attended, Jeff used this opportunity as a scientific experiment.  At his home, the purpose was to show people what he was all about.

I could tell Jeff was not satisfied, which left me befuddled.  Even the worst slice that came out of the oven was better than anything I’ve had hear in the Dirty.  Whether Varasano’s succeeds remains to be seen; however, Jeff has made some really smart hires and has his mind in the right place.

At this point, the best I can tell you is that the parlor will be open soon … very very soon.  While they are still learning the new oven, things are headed in the right direction.

As with any restaurant of this ilk, there are bound to be some people that love it and some people that think it’s as overhyped as any restaurant.  Regardless of which camp you find yourself in, a couple of things are apparent: Jeff Varasano knows what he’s doing, his pizzas are thoughtful and well constructed, and he cares about his craft.


Varasano’s Pizzeria Restaurant Address & Information:
2171 Peachtree Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30309 // Website

Sneak Peek: Varasano’s Pizzeria – Buckhead, Atlanta, GA 6

Posted by Foodie Buddha on December 22, 2008


A few weeks ago, I had a chance to sample the food from the highly anticipated Varasano’s Pizzeria.  The pizzeria, whose namesake is Jeff Varasano, is scheduled to open in early to mid-January in the newly built Mezzo building.  The restaurant is as anticipated as any other Atlanta hot spot has been, at least in recent memory.  Unlike the restaurants recently opened by Jean-Georges or Tom Colicchio, Varasano’s place has been built up almost entirely due to word-of-mouth.  While JG and Colicchio were well established chefs by the time they opened in Atlanta, Jeff cut his teeth as a software engineer.  Varasano moved to Atlanta in 1998 and quickly noted the dearth of good, let alone acceptable, pie bars.  Over the next six-years, he operated in relative obscurity while he studied and honed his new craft.

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